HEADS IN BEDS: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality. By Jacob Tomsky. Doubleday. 247 pages. $25.95.
Room upgrades. Free movies. Late checkouts. Jacob Tomsky promises readers the keys to the hotel industry kingdom in his tell-all book, “Heads in Beds.” The one-time philosophy major has spent more than a decade working in the industry, and like room service, he delivers the goods.
Take those extra charges for movies and the minibar. Tomsky says they’re the most frequently disputed charges on guests’ bills. Just deny you ever watched it or ate it and it’ll come off the bill. Going to incur a same-day cancellation charge? No worries. Ask to move the reservation to another date without penalty, then cancel the new reservation later. Want to get upgraded to a nicer room? Try tipping the check-in agent $20 upfront.
But Tomsky also gives readers good reasons to be on their best behavior at hotels. Raise your voice and you may get “key bombed.” That’s where a front desk agent programs your room key in a way that virtually ensures you will be locked out at some point.
Beyond tips, Tomsky has packed his book with outrageous anecdotes about guests. There’s the frequent guest who refused any room number where the digits didn’t add up to nine. Then there’s the group that built a fire under their suite’s claw foot bathtub, hoping to turn it into a deep fryer.
Tomsky tells outrageous stories about the hotel staff, too: a valet learning to drive a stick shift using a guest’s car and a bellman who allegedly urinated in a guest’s bottle of cologne after he was stiffed on a tip.
Tomsky has worked at hotels in New Orleans and New York, so readers may wonder if his tips will work anywhere else. But his stories are so good, it almost doesn’t matter.
Reviewer Jessica Gresko writes for The Associated Press.